It's been a bit quiet on the bread front recently, but I'm back with a staple bread loaf, probably one of the first breads I ever tried, the farmhouse/ white loaf. There's no messing with this recipe, strong white bread flour, yeast, salt & water is all you need. Mix, knead, prove, shape, prove again then bake.
This is one bread that I always love to do by hand, even though I own a stand mixer, mainly because I can't be bothered to clean it afterwards. I found that the best way to learn about bread making is by hand, so going back to this technique is somewhat a labour of love.
- 500g Strong White Bread Flour
- 7g Sachet Fast Action Yeast
- 10g Salt
- 350ml Lukewarm Water
- Sunflower/ Vegetable Oil (For Greasing)
- In a large bowl, weigh the flour. Rub in the salt at one edge of the bowl and the yeast on the other side, as the salt can stop the yeast working.
- Add the water and mix together to form a coherent dough (use your dough to mop up any flour sticking to the bowl). Knead for 10 minutes or until the dough has become noticeably smoother. Shape into a ball & place in a large bowl. Cover your bowl with a damp tea towel or clingfilm and rest in a warm place for 1 hour, or until it has noticeably increased in size.
- Knock back the dough by tipping it back onto a floured surface and pushing the air out. Mould the dough into a rugby ball shape that will fit a 900g loaf tin and place in the tin. Loosely cover and leave it for a final hour, or until it has doubled in size and springs back when pushed.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C, fan 200°C, gas 7, at least 20 minutes in advance.
- Bake the bread for 15 mins, then reduce the heat to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5 and continue to bake for 30 mins until the loaf sounds hollow when removed from the tin and tapped on the base. Leave the bread on a wire rack to cool completely.